My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm not really sure what Nigel Strangeways' real job is. Something to do with literature, which makes him an amateur sleuth back in the day when county police were happy to accept the help of a successful consultant.
It may seem irrelevant that Strangeways has a day job, but it's the key to his interest in the murder, which involves a headless corpse found near the property of a respected poet, Robert Seaton. Nigel's interest is in the poet, not the murder, but as the investigation begins to touch the lives of everyone living on the Seaton estate, he's concerned about the effect it might have on Robert Seaton's current work, his first in ten years.
Some of the characters and their reactions to situations is a bit silly, but likeable silly. There is also a scene reflecting on the rape of a fifteen year old girl that must be read with the times (1949) in mind. I believe the author used "rape", with all its modern violent connotations, while referring to the seduction of an underage girl. Which is still statutory rape, but a different scenario that would fit what the character says. You'll know what I mean when you get to that point.
My main enjoyment in reading mysteries comes from the situations and characters rather than the difficulty of the murder. However, right when I thought I had the ending figured out, I was wrong. The explanation made sense, but it wasn't obvious.
I have read Strangeway mysteries before, but this story gave me a bit of information about the character that helped flesh him out in my mind.
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